Inuit insight meets big data
Julie Robertson, Environmental Applied Science and Management MASc alumna and PhD student
Julie Robertson’s graduate research is bridging indigenous wisdom with modern science to create a clearer picture of Arctic caribou migration – crucial to the health, culture and social well-being of the Inuit community.
For her master’s thesis in Environmental Applied Science and Management, Julie used the oral histories of Inuit elders in Nunavut as variables for a geographic information system. The new data models revealed caribou herds in areas missed by government records due to infrequent surveying.
“The elders know the land and they know caribou numbers ebb and flow,” says Julie. “I’d like Inuit knowledge to be seen as the basis of government policy, not as an afterthought.”
By applying thousands of years of intimate Inuit knowledge to contemporary data methods, Julie is challenging conventional ways of thinking and helping to better understand the changes occurring in the Arctic.
“Ryerson has always been unique,” says Julie. “As a mature student, I was able to easily fit into its fabric and conduct cutting-edge research from a holistic perspective instead of being limited to a specific field or knowledge base.”
At Ryerson, our cultural diversity makes us more connected and creative in solving real-world problems.
Photo credit: Christopher Manson